If you are interested in learning more about the relative merits of the expansive Canadian wilderness and the idyllic California lake, then look elsewhere because this is a comparison of the 2020 GMC Yukon vs 2020 Chevy Tahoe. Although, it is important to mention that these two full-size SUVs are just as untamed and iconic as their namesakes might suggest. With their rugged body-on-frame construction, powerful V8 engines, and capable four-wheel drive systems, these two mighty SUVs are ready for whatever adventure you might be preparing to embark upon.
However, choosing between them is no simple matter because a quick look at their spec sheets will reveal that they are almost identical. The reason for this is that GMC and Chevrolet are both divisions of GM, and their SUVs ride on the same platform and even share many of the same technologies. Still, this does not mean that there are no differences between them, and a close comparison will reveal that the Yukon offers numerous luxury upgrades over the Tahoe. So buckle up and get ready for an in-depth look at how the 2020 GMC Yukon and 2020 Chevy Tahoe stack up. Here we go!
One Name For Two SUVs Or Two Names For One SUV?
Perhaps the most confusing difference between the GMC and Chevrolet full-size SUV lineups is that GMC uses the Yukon name for what Chevrolet markets as two different models. The standard 2020 GMC Yukon shares its basic design with the Chevy Tahoe, measuring 204 inches in length with 94.7 cubic feet of cargo space. However, the larger Yukon XL, which measures 224 inches and length and has 121.7 cubic feet of cargo space, is actually the GMC counterpart to the Chevy Suburban. But despite Chevy marketing, all four of these models ride on the same platform and share the same engine options.
So altogether, it is more accurate to say that Chevy is using two names for the same vehicle than to say that GMC is selling two vehicles under the same name. However, the important thing to remember from this is that if the base GMC Yukon or the Chevy Tahoe does not offer enough space to meet your needs, then the GMC Yukon XL or the Chevy Suburban will be a direct upgrade. And while our focus here is on the base Yukon and the Tahoe, almost every comparison made will be equally true of the larger Yukon XL and Suburban.
What is a Platform?
But what exactly does it mean to say that the 2020 GMC Yukon and 2020 Chevy Tahoe, along with the larger GMC Yukon XL and Chevy Suburban, share the same platform? This means that mechanically the two vehicles have almost all the same major components. Although the bodies of the two SUVs look quite different from the outside, with the Yukon exhibiting a much more refined look with its distinctive grille and headlights, underneath the skin, the two are closely related.
Not only are the frames that underpin their body-on-frame construction the same, but so are components such as their suspensions, transmissions, and engines. Although when it comes to the engine options, there is a small difference. The top trim 2020 Chevy Tahoe is available with either a smaller 5.3L V8 engine producing 355 hp or a larger 6.2L V8 generating 420 hp, while the top trim 2020 Yukon Denali is only sold with the more powerful 6.2L V8. But the bottom line is that even though the GMC Yukon is an overall more luxurious vehicle than the Chevy Tahoe, sharing the same platform means that the performance and reliability of these two SUVs will be effectively identical.
Although both the 2020 GMC Yukon and 2020 Chevy Tahoe are three-row SUVs, they are available in a number of different seating configurations offering room for five to nine passengers. The standard amount of seats in both models is eight, with two front bucket seats and bench seats for the second and third rows. Capacity can be increased to nine through the use of an optional first-row bench seat, although this option is unfortunately only available on the lowest trim GMC Yukon SLE and Chevy Tahoe LS.
However, if comfort is more important than capacity, most trims on both of these SUVs can have the second-row bench seat replaced with a pair of bucket seats for a total of seven passengers. Finally, the Chevy Tahoe LS offers the option of deleting the third row of seats entirely, transforming it into a two-row SUV with a passenger capacity of either five or six depending on whether the front bench seat option is also selected. However, this simpler cargo-oriented work truck option is not available on any trim of the more luxurious passenger-oriented GMC Yukon.
GMC Offers Luxury Features
But while there are some small differences in the mechanics and configurations of these two SUVs, what really sets them apart are their available luxury features. Beginning with the seating, the GMC Yukon comes standard with twelve-way power-adjustable front seats, while in the Chevy Tahoe, only the driver gets this luxury, and the passenger has to make do with a simpler four-way power-adjustable seat that lacks height adjustment and power lumbar control. Further, both the SLT and Denali trims of the GMC Yukon come with heated and vented front seats and heated second-row seats, while these features are only found on the top Premier trim of the Chevy Tahoe.
But a better example of this difference between the two SUVs is not the number of seats, but the quality of the seats. Inside the Yukon, you will find comfortable twelve-way power-adjustable seats with power lumbar support for both the driver and front passenger, while the Tahoe has a simpler power seat set up. Further, the Tahoe restricts the luxury of heated and vented front seats and heated second-row seats to its top trim, while the Yukon offers these features on all but its base trim. In fact, it is reasonably accurate to say that the mid-trim GMC Yukon is the equal of the top trim Chevy Tahoe as they are the first trims in which these two models gain most of their luxury features, including everything from power-adjustable pedals and a hands-free liftgate to keyless ignition and a heated steering wheel.
Which SUV Should I Get?
Because of the many similarities between the 2020 GMC Yukon and 2020 Chevy Tahoe, either of these highly capable SUVs will likely serve you well. However, it should be clear that, overall, the GMC Yukon has a clear advantage in features and comfort. Although both SUVs share the same platform and will perform similarly, they are not aimed at the same market segment. The Chevy Tahoe is simply the more basic and affordable version of this vehicle, while the GMC Yukon is the more comfortable and upscale version. And given the relatively small price difference between these two SUVs, the better-equipped GMC vehicle makes for an all-around more compelling package. So unless you just prefer the looks of the 2020 Chevy Tahoe, you will probably be better off in a 2020 GMC Yukon.